Spooky never goes out of style, and these six classic Halloween costumes inspired by legends and stories from long ago are proof of that. But do you know why ghosts haunt people or where you should go during the Zombie Apocalypse? Here’s six classic monsters that have remained fan favourites at Halloween and some things you might not know about them.
• Vampires (or vampyres) not only don’t have a reflection in mirrors, they also don’t have shadows, and can’t be photographed or even painted, because they have no soul.
• Sesame Street’s Count Dracula is based on the OCD tendencies of vampires. Legend has it if a person throws sesame seeds outside their door or places a fishing net outside their window, a vampire will be compelled to count the seeds or holes, delaying them from entering the home until the sun comes up and they die.
• According to legends, vampires can transform into more than just bats. They can also assume the form of animals such as wolves and rats, and can even control animals.
• Long before films like Underworld and Twilight, there were stories of werewolves pitted against vampires. These “good werewolves” would protect humans from evil vampires.
• Similar to the witch trials, there were werewolf trials during Medieval Times in which men were accused of transforming into beasts and hunting in packs at night.
• Common ways to become a werewolf go beyond simply being bitten by one. They also include inheriting the trait from one’s parents, being cursed by a Gypsy, drinking water from a werewolf’s footprint, and sleeping outside under a full moon with the moonlight hitting one’s face.
• As terrifying as it is to be confronted by an apparition, it may be comforting to know they can’t actually harm you. Instead, an unfriendly ghost will seek to torment people.
• Like the three ghosts in A Christmas Carol, it is believed ghosts can read minds and also know one’s future. They will try to communicate this with a subject not only through encounters, but also through dreams.
• Spirits don’t actually know they’re dead, living in a constant state of confusion. Because of this, they will try to get attention from people by moving objects and making their presence known. They will also play pranks out of boredom.
• Unlike the zombies of recent popular entertainment, such as The Walking Dead, zombies originally didn’t crave brains or flesh. They were not aggressive, wandering aimlessly as they waited for their souls to be released to the other side.
• Do you have a plan in place for the Zombie Apocalypse? According to researchers who’ve compared a hypothetical zombie invasion to an actual disease outbreak, the best chance of survival is to move to an isolated area far away from populated cities. Prime locations include deserted islands (or other dwellings surrounded by water) and mountains (or other elevated dwelling places).
• Tales of zombies began making their way to North America in the early 20th Century, when American soldiers stationed in Haiti reported of sorcerers bringing the dead back to life.
• One of the most common misconceptions about Frankenstein’s monster is the name. In Mary Shelley’s 1818 novel, Victor Frankenstein is the scientist, while his creation remained unnamed and is simply referred to as “the monster,” “creature,” and even “the demon.”
• The novel and the 1931 film adaptation are quite different. In the movie, Frankenstein’s Monster doesn’t talk. However, in the novel the monster is actually quite philosophical in his communications on his condition.
• Composed of body parts from dozens of different sources, Frankenstein’s Monster is an undead creature with superhuman strength who does not need to eat or sleep.
• Ancient Egyptians believed mummification was a vital part of the journey to the afterlife. If done properly, the deceased would have full use of their body as they travelled to the other side.
• The curse of mummies and tombs has been sensationalized by Hollywood, mainly stemming from the death of the man who had King Tutankhamun’s tomb excavated. He was bitten by a mosquito and died four months later. Although Egyptians engraved tombs with threats of retaliation from beyond the grave should a tomb be disturbed, this was meant to deter grave robbers. But curse or no curse, would you really want to risk it?
• Mummification is still done today, both for the bodies of people and pets. But it comes at a price — starting at US$67,000. In Ancient Egypt, the same process cost the equivalent of about $3,000.